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Montreal synagogue vandalized with swastikas, one man arrested

Credit: TWITTER/Marc Miller

MONTREAL (CityNews) – One of Montreal’s largest synagogues was vandalized with anti-Semitic symbols.

B’nai Brith Canada says a man was apprehended in the midst of spray-painting swastikas onto the doors of Westmount’s Congregation Shaar Hashomayim.

He was first spotted by the synagogue’s security guards, then arrested by Montreal police.

“This incident is another jarring reminder of the constant need for vigilance in protecting our Jewish communal institutions,” said Michael Mostyn, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada. “Antisemitism can rear its ugly head anywhere and any time, and we must always do our part to combat it when it does.”

Rabbi Reuben Poupko, co-chair of CIJA Quebec, said Montreal’s Jewish community was “outraged” by the “vile assault.”

“This attack targets the entire community and all those who embrace civility and tolerance,” said Poupko. “Coming in the wake of other violent antisemitic attacks, it is yet another reminder of the dangerous role social media continues to play in the spreading of hate and the provocation of violence.

“The Jewish community calls on government and social media to redouble their efforts to monitor and halt this propagation of online antisemitism and bigotry. We are grateful to the synagogue security and the police for their rapid response.”

Marc Miller, federal Liberal MP for the area, tweeted: “The desecration of Montreal’s Shaar Hashomayim with the most vile and abhorrent symbol of evil and hate is an utter disgrace. I ask all Canadians to stand with Shaar Hashomayin and members of the Jewish faith as we condemn this act that has no place in this country!”

B’nai Brith says they will fbe ollowing up with the Montreal hate crimes unit and those affected to ensure justice is served.

No one was physically harmed during the incident.

The synagogue, like all houses of worship in the province’s red zones, is currently not holding religious services due to COVID-19 health measures.